The Irish love a good song as much as they love Guinness or spuds, so let’s have a look at the top ten most famous Irish songs of all time, ranked.
Irish culture revolves around food, drink, socialising, and, more often than not, music. Here we will share the top ten most famous Irish songs of all time.
Irish music is famous worldwide, considering many emigrants brought the culture and their musical skills with them when they left the Emerald Isle.
Today people enjoy Irish music all over the world, whether it’s the old Irish ballads or the modern Irish folk and rock, while Irish songs from your childhood may bring some nostalgia.
Trad sessions have always been a thing, and not only in pubs but especially in family homes, when each family member would take turns to sing one of their favourite songs while the others listened or played an instrument, and this is how a lot of Irish family bands began.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of songs out there that we all know and love, but here are the top ten most famous Irish songs of all time, ranked.
- The Irish love a good song as much as they love Guinness or spuds, so let’s have a look at the top ten most famous Irish songs of all time, ranked.
- Meanwhile in Ireland’s top facts about the most famous Irish songs of all time
- 10. ‘Molly Malone’ – in Dublin’s fair city
- 9. ‘Lady in Red’ by Chris de Burgh – a romantic Irish ballad
- 8. ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ by Van Morrison – Van’s signature 60s song
- 7. ‘I’m in the Mood for Dancing’ by The Nolan Sisters – a song to get you in the party mood
- 6. ‘Fields of Athenry’ – an anthem we all know
- 5. ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries – a song about first love
- 4. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ by U2 – a song based around the Troubles
- 3. ‘Galway Girl’ by Mundy and Sharon Shannon – a Galway anthem
- 2. ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ – an Irish ballad with a long history
- 1. ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl – a Christmas classic
- Your questions answered about the most famous Irish songs of all time
Meanwhile in Ireland’s top facts about the most famous Irish songs of all time
- ‘The Fields of Athenry’ is one of the most popular Irish songs of all time, written by Pete St. John and recounting the fictional tale of ‘Michael’ during the Great Famine period in Ireland.
- U2 was formed in Ireland in 1976, selling over 150 million records worldwide. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ relates to The Troubles in the 1970s.
- Dolores O’Riordan was the iconic lead singer of The Cranberries, whose 1992 songs ‘Dreams’ relates to the singers first time falling in love.
- Van Morrison is regarded as an innovator in music, trying his luck in different genres. ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, released in 1967, remains one of his best and most loved hits.
- Kicking off our list is ‘Molly Malone’. Indeed, there is a statue of Molly Malone in Dublin on Grafton Street.
10. ‘Molly Malone’ – in Dublin’s fair city
This popular song set in Dublin, which is also known as ‘Cockles and Muscles’ or ‘Dublin’s Fair City’, is based on a fictional fish wife who sold produce during the day and moonlighted as a sex worker.
There is a statue of her in Dublin, and the song has become so famous it is an unofficial anthem.
9. ‘Lady in Red’ by Chris de Burgh – a romantic Irish ballad
This popular romantic love song, which was released in 1986, became Chris de Burgh’s signature song that made him world-famous. The song is still as popular as ever.
8. ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ by Van Morrison – Van’s signature 60s song
Just like ‘Lady in Red’, ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ is considered Van Morrison’s signature song. It was realised in 1967, and as of 2015, it remained the most downloaded song of the 60s. You can see here where Van Morrison ranks on our list of the most famous people from Belfast of all time.
7. ‘I’m in the Mood for Dancing’ by The Nolan Sisters – a song to get you in the party mood
6. ‘Fields of Athenry’ – an anthem we all know
Definitely one of the most famous Irish songs of all time, ‘Fields of Athenry’ was written in 1979 by Pete St. John, who had previously heard a story about a boy from Athenry who was deported to Australia for stealing corn for his family during famine times.
It has become an anthem for Irish sports supporters and is one of the most famous Irish folk ballads.
5. ‘Dreams’ by The Cranberries – a song about first love
Released in 1992, this song became such a hit for Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries that it has been used in many films and T.V. shows over the years.
O’Riordan is said to have written the song about her first love and the feelings she went through during those days. We don’t know about you, but we love it.
4. ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ by U2 – a song based around the Troubles
Written about the Bloody Sunday massacre that occurred during The Troubles, Bono originally wrote political lyrics but then changed them so as not to take sides or for it to be a ‘rebel song’ but rather a song for peace.
3. ‘Galway Girl’ by Mundy and Sharon Shannon – a Galway anthem
One of the most famous Irish songs of all time, ‘Galway Girl’, was written about a semi-fictional girl that was spotted in Galway, and it features the famous areas of Salthill and the Long Walk.
It was recorded by Steve Earle and Sharon Shannon previously, but when it was rerecorded by Mundy and Sharon Shannon, it became a huge hit and was the best selling single of 2008.
2. ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ – an Irish ballad with a long history
This is a song we all know, and we have all heard many versions of, mainly because it has been rerecorded since the 50s. However, the song is said to have been originally composed in the 17th-century.
It became well known when it was performed by the Dubliners in the 50s, but since then, Metallica and Thin Lizzy have covered it.
1. ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl – a Christmas classic
This Christmas classic is a song played all over the world, so much so that in the U.K. and Ireland, it’s the most played Christmas song of the entire 21st-century.
So, there you have it. One of the most famous Irish songs of all time is a Christmas classic!
Your questions answered about the most famous Irish songs of all time
Read this article on the most famous Irish songs of all time and still have some outstanding questions? Not to worry, for we have you covered! In this section, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions on this topic to us and from online.
What is the Irish song everyone sings?
This is probably ‘Dirty Old Town’, written by Ewan McColl and played by the famous Luke Kelly. This one is always played in pubs, bars, events and just any occasion.
What is the oldest traditional Irish song?
The oldest Irish songs is the ‘Dinnseanchas’. It is the oldest description of Irish music we have on the Emerald Isle.
What was the most played song of all time?
‘Every Breath You Take’ by The Police is the most played song in radio history. However, ‘Blinding Lights’ by The Wknd is the most played song on Spotify, with 3.7 billion streams.
Who is greatest Irish band of all time?
Many would have U2 as the greatest Irish band of all time. However, others would include Thin Lizzy, The Cranberries, and Westlife.
What is considered the most famous song in the world?
YouTube views has ‘Despacito’, ‘Shape of You’, ‘See You Again’, ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘Gangnam Style’ as the most streamed songs in the world.